If you are an employer, you’ve likely been struggling just to stay afloat; facing both professional and personal challenges during the COVID-19 epidemic. There is no playbook to tell you how to make it through a pandemic. It is uncharted territory for us all.
One important thing you can do to help your business succeed is to make sure your business is in compliance with any federal, state, or local mandates. With so many employees out sick or caring for family members because of coronavirus, many employers are looking for ways to offer employees who must be out sick or away from work caring for family members some relief.
On April 1, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor enacted a temporary rule to offer protection to workers affected by COVID-19, the Paid Leave Under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). What this act does is reimburse private employers with less than 500 employees by giving them tax credits for the cost of providing employees with paid leave for reasons related to coronavirus. This allows the employee to remain on the payroll while not having to worry about earning an income over the health and safety of themselves or their families. The temporary act is effective from April 2, 2020 through December 31, 2020.
Here are some important provisions of FFCRA:
- Certain employers must provide up to 80 hours of paid sick leave to employees sick or who need to care for family members who become ill due to COVID-19.
- This requirement includes the employee or family members the employee is caring for who are under self-quarantine orders or government quarantine orders.
- Paid sick leave covers employees experiencing coronavirus symptoms and who are seeking medical attention.
- Employees who must be absent due to school or daycare center closures related to COVID-19.
- Ten weeks of paid leave and two weeks on unpaid Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act (EFMLEA) are available to certain employees who are caring for children whose school or daycare facility is closed due to COVID-19.
The U.S. Department of Labor has a free tool available for workers looking to determine if they qualify to receive paid sick leave or FMLA for any time they have to spend away from work because they are sick with coronavirus or must care for family members who have become ill because of coronavirus.